Washington County is the birthplace of Texas, the place where the rebels declared independence from Mexico and formed a new country in 1836. It’s a rural area that embraces its Texas roots and understands the meaning of southern hospitality. The area is a hotbed of history for your next family vacation.

Where to stay

There are a few chain hotels in Washington County, but there also are 47 independent bed and breakfasts, each with its own special charm. Check the Web sites carefully before booking a B&B. Look at the photos, read about the amenities and pay particular attention to whether children are welcome. Even those that do welcome children may not be a good fit if the photos show a raft of delicate antiques and your kids are rambunctious toddlers. The innkeeper might be fine with it, but it may not provide a restful stay for you.

During a recent press trip to Washington County, Texas, a group of journalists got a look at a handful of the properties.

Lillian Farms Bed & Breakfast is all new. There’s a carriage house with two rooms, and is available for families with kids. There’s even a suite that sleeps a family of five for $225 a night, including a gourmet breakfast. The main house has four rooms, all with private baths, gorgeous antiques and luxurious touches, for $139 to $225 a night?? Innkeeper Barbara Segal says her guests “Walk in as strangers and leave as my friends.”

Texas Ranch Life is an 1,800-acre property that is home to 300 cows, six buffalo, 13 lakes that are stocked with bass, a chapel for weddings or meetings, a barn and rodeo arena as well as eight guest houses. Proprietor Taunia Elick (link to story on her) has moved each of the historic Texas buildings to the ranch and restored them. Several of the houses sleep 10 or more. Overnight rates range from $175 for a single room to $500 for an entire house that can sleep 13.

Brenham House is a charming inn with three rooms just a few blocks from downtown Brenham, the Washington County seat. It’s run by James and Susan Lopez, who used to own a bakery in Houston. Not surprisingly, the three-course breakfasts include some luscious baked goodies. Rates are $129-$159 a night.

The Ant Street Inn has the best in-town location, on the second floor over some quaint shops in town. The rooms are huge and elegant and the second floor lobby is just crying out to be the backdrop of a movie set. Rates range from $129 to $269 per night.

Gourmet cooks can find a kindred spirit in Pamela Murski, the innkeeper at Murski Homestead. She offers gourmet weekends that include an amazing spread of appetizers that greet guests on Friday night and a day long cooking foray on Saturday that can include visits to the farm field to gather fresh ingredients along with a cooking lesson and a feast on Saturday night. Or it can just include the feast. She has three rooms that range in price from $150-$165 a night and gourmet weekends are an additional cost.

At the Southern Rose Bed and Breakfast, the dogs are the official greeters and the rooms are located in a building separate from the house that make they perfect for a family (she takes young kids only if both rooms are booked) or a girlfriends getaway. The outdoor Jacuzzi, kitchen and fireplace, are great spots for a evening under the stars. Room rates are $260-$170 per night, which includes a gourmet breakfast delivered to your room.

At the Mariposa Ranch, there is another collection of historic Texas houses that have been moved to the site and renovated into luxury rooms, some with kitchens and fireplaces. There’s also a beautiful wedding chapel onsite and a banquet hall large enough for receptions. Rates range from $109 for a room to $239 for a cottage.

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